Majuli, Sep 8 (IANS) The world’s largest river Island Majuli became India’s first and only island district after the Assam government on Thursday gave approval for its upgradation.
The 352 square km island was till now a subdivision of Jorhat district. With the upgrade, it has become the 35th district of Assam.
A state Cabinet meeting was held on the island on Thursday, which was attended by all Cabinet colleagues of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The meeting unanimously made several key decisions to develop the island district into a developed one in the days to come.
Sonowal also inaugurated the Deputy Commissioner’s office of the Majuli district and addressed a public meeting.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam had decided to upgrade the Majuli subdivision to a district in its first ever Cabinet meeting on May 24, immediately after assuming office in the north-eastern state.
Sonowal contested from Majuli constituency in the Assam assembly elections in April and defeated Congress candidate Rajib Lochan Pegu, who had represented the constituency for the last three terms since 2001.
“When I proposed in the Cabinet that Majuli be upgraded to a district, everyone agreed. So the credit goes to everyone in the Cabinet. However, as I represent Majuli in the assembly, my responsibility is more. People of the island will not forgive me if I fail to translate their dreams into reality,” the Chief Minister said at the public rally on the island on Thursday.
“Majuli has a lot of problems. A lot needs to be done. The government will leave no stone unturned to make it one of the best and developed districts of the state,” Sonowal said.
The Chief Minister said that his government was also preparing a dossier to be presented to Unesco authorities for getting the World Heritage Site status for the island.
Speaking on the occasion, Assam Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the island will be connected with Guwahati through bus service. Other steps will also be taken to develop communications network for the benefit of Majuli residents, he added.
The Chief Minister has announced a cultural university as well as an ayurvedic hospital in Majuli.
Housing a population of over 1.5 lakh, Majuli faces flood and erosion every year. The island has already lost 60 per cent of its landmass to erosion since 1950.
The island is mostly accessible through boats and remains cut off from the rest of the state during floods, causing great miseries to its residents.
Majuli residents hitherto had to visit Jorhat by crossing the mighty Brahmaputra river for every single administrative work.
The government has assured that offices of all state departments will be opened in Majuli within two to three months.